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Do Birth Control Pills Affect Blood Pressure?

Combination birth control pills can raise blood pressure and be dangerous for those who currently suffer from hypertension. The heightened risk of high blood pressure comes from the presence of estrogen in the traditional combination of birth control pills. High blood pressure is even more prevalent in those with a family history of high blood pressure or kidney disease, women who smoke, women who are overweight, and women who have experienced high blood pressure in a previous pregnancy.

High blood pressure caused by birth control pills is often referred to as secondary hypertension and comes on quite rapidly instead of developing slowly over time.

If you are set on birth control pills as your choice of contraceptive, you can safely take progestin-only pills with high blood pressure, but you should continue to have your blood pressure regularly monitored. The disadvantages of progestin-only pills are that they need to be taken at the same time every day to stay effective and they can result in occasional breakthrough bleeding. If you suffer from high blood pressure, progestin-only birth control or nonhormonal methods may be your best option.

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